10. Women’s hair is not the covering. If it were, Paul’s admonishment, “if a woman does not cover her head, let her have her hair cut off” (1 Cor 11:6) does not make sense. How could a woman who refuses to have hair have the same hair cut off as a result?
9. Whether or not hair covering is a “salvation issue” is irrelevant. Last time I checked, Christians did not get to choose which church practices (baptism, Lord’s Supper, forbidding female teachers) or moral practices (lying, stealing, fornication) are optional. Christ’s blood washes us from all sin. In gratitude, we are obedient as much as possible to God’s commands.
8. Wedding rings are not the modern-day replacement for headcoverings. First, wedding rings are worn by both men and women, so unlike men not covering and women covering, wedding rings do not serve as a differentiation between men and women. Second, unlike modern wedding ring practices, in ancient Rome and Greece the ring actually served as a differentiation in that only women wore rings. So, if rings were a valid replacement for a covering, Paul would have not failed to mention this.
7. Headcovering is extremely important, because it demonstrates the reality within the Godhead that the Son submits to the Father (1 Cor 11:3).
6. Headcovering was not something that only applied to a narrow context in Corinth. Paul specifically said that “we have no other practice, nor do the churches of God” (1 Cor 11:16).
5. Headcovering is not a debatable practice which it is acceptable for us to have different positions on. Paul warns the Corinthians not to be “contentious” concerning this issue (1 Cor 11:16).
4. It is patently false that only women of ill-repute failed to cover their heads in ancient Greek society. In fact, Greek prostitutes were known for their headcoverings called “mitres.”
3. It is historically untrue that all women in the Greek and Roman world covered their heads. We have a preponderance of writings, statues, paintings, pottery, and even preserved bodies from Pompeii that prove this. Further, though it is fairly well established (by the standards of ancient history) that all Jewish women kept their heads covered in public, it is also true that Jewish men sometimes covered their heads (especially priests.) Further, Roman and Greek men also had headcoverings of their own. Therefore, the Christian practice of women covering and men not doing so has no precedent in culture or history. It is innovative in its own right.
2. The Church universally upheld the traditional practice of headcovering until woman’s liberation became a paradigm. It is extremely rare for the Church to get an issue universally wrong for almost 2,000 years if we are to believe that the Holy Spirit guards His Church from pervasive, universal error.
1. The explicit wording of 1 Cor 11:2-16 is easy to understand and not confusing in what it requires. For this reason, Tertullian wrote (about 200AD) that the Church universally followed the practice and the debate was over whether unmarried women should wear coverings (which he claimed “half” the churches did). He noted that the Corinthian church itself, who had originally received the letter, required both married and unmarried women to cover.